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Front Cover By Nina Chanel Abney
What 2015

Courtesy of the artist and the Kravets Wehby Gallery, New York, NY.

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Volume 57, Issue 3

IN THE FIRST introduction I penned for this magazine, I felt it incumbent to cite Ralph Waldo Emerson. One line in particular, for the fall of 2016, seems even more appropriate now than it did in 2010, or in 1848, for that matter. In his introduction to the first issue of the Massachusetts Quarterly Review, Emerson wrote, “This country needs to be extricated from its delirium at once.” This issue’s featured artist, Nina Chanel Abney, also brings Hamlet to mind, holding, as she does, a mirror up to that madness — “in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of passion.” Abney’s work is all the more essential given what we find on the national stage today — dominated by “players that [we] have seen play” as they strut, bellow, and “imitat[e] humanity so abominably.”

Back at the onset of the millennium’s second decade, I argued that another key step toward extrication, and away from delirium, would be a dramatic increase in the amount that the Massachusetts Review publishes in translation. Since then, we’ve done well on that score, averaging perhaps twenty percent, though we could certainly do better. In this issue, for example, only two of our twenty authors first wrote their work in a language other than English: poems from Fahrad Showghi, translated from German by Harry Roddy, and letters from Joan Sales, translated by Contributing Editor Peter Bush. So this round we’ve batted just half our average. That said, it should be added that the goal for MR was never quotas, even if we remain resolutely pro-immigration. To much of the world, much of what this country produces appears, it must be said, provincial. And MR will never stand for that.

So let’s take a closer look at what’s included in this issue. We begin with three “Amherst Stories” from MR’s founding editor, Jules Chametzky. The red thread that guides these accounts, however, ties them each to flakey international movements: first the Moonies, then Scientology, and, in perhaps the grimmest tale of all, Reichian orgonomy. Elsewhere a hat trick of other local heroes — Marilyn Chin, Stephen Clingman, and Sabina Murray — also adds to our understanding of the world and its history. The nightmarish diet in Chin’s “Immigrant Dreams,” the three episodes from Clingman’s memoir about growing up in apartheid-era South Africa, or Murray’s vision of the visionary Roger Casement: each a case study in 379 how all true politics is global, even when it acts only locally. In Amherst historian Laure Katsaros’s lovely tale of the Goncourt brothers, and French culture itself, surrendering to a Japanese invasion, we have a fascinating story of cross-cultural pollination, one that arrived at our office from just across town. Joann Kobin’s tale of late-life language learning has a French twist as well, though in this case the author does live all the way across the river in Northampton. Muira McCammon’s research on the Guantánamo Bay library is another fruit of local scholarship, and one with evidently historic ramifications.

Elsewhere in this issue, Nil Santiáñez delivers the second half of his lesson in reading the literature of the Great War comparatively. And as their work here makes manifest, neither the poetry of Michael Waters nor that of Terese Svoboda fits neatly into any national box. Let a last line from the latter stand as slogan for both, and for us: “Not you, where once was all-you.” Our autumnal offerings also include a pair of atypical family stories: Christine Sneed invents an advice column capable of giving life lessons to its author, and Alex Poppe hatches a CRISPR tale of genetic manipulation than any we’ve ever read. Both narratives for our time, about our world, not ourselves. Finally, let me also mention the closing poem from Lisa Beech Hartz. Its subject, a photograph by Doris Ulmann of the great Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco, seems a particularly good fit for these pages. Ulmann was an alumna of the storied Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City, an institution that counts among its early faculty the great photographer and sociologist Lewis Hine, who taught the art of photography to Paul Strand, who as a member of the Photo League cooperative in New York, worked with Jerome Liebling. And Jerry Liebling, as any long-time reader of this review will know, was a friend and editor of our magazine for over forty years. All this should serve as a simple reminder. Internationalizing, like any Internationale worthy of its name, is not foreign to this country — it forms the best part of its history. Even in our own delirious age and day, there’s still plenty of heroism to go around. We’re proud to find so much of it local.



Amherst Stories

By Jules Chametzky


Singing Vegetables

By Terese Svoboda



By Terese Svoboda



By Meg Kearney


Immigrant Dreams: Eat Crow

By Marilyn Chin


Honorary Englishman

By Sabina Murray


The Dark Ages

By Lauren Hilger


The King's English

By Brian Johnson


from Birthmark

By Stephen Clingman


Marek (1988)

By Jonathan Dollimore



By Michael Waters


Zeus, Cyclops, Plato, Gaia...

By Michael Waters



By Nina Chanel Abney


Letters from the Spanish Civil War, 1937-38

Peter Bush


Letters from the Spanish Civil War, 1937-38

By Joan Sales, Translated by Peter Bush


Showing What Cannot Be Said: Total War and the International Project of Modernist War Writing, part two

By Nil Santiañez


Stories, Scandals, and Censorship: Telling the Story of the Guantánamo Bay Detainee Library Facilities

By Muira McCammon



By Farhad Showghi, Translated by Harry Roddy


How the hands

By Farhad Showghi, Translated by Harry Roddy



Harry Roddy


How the hands

Harry Roddy


The Goncourt Brothers: Reflected in the Magic Mirror of Japan

By Laure Katsaros


Dr. Leopold Takes French

By Joann Kobin


Dear Kelly Bloom

By Christine Sneed



By Mikko Harvey


Family Matter

By Alex Poppe


Portrait of José Clemente Orozco, Doris Ulmann, New York City, 1929

By Lisa Beech Hartz

Table of Contents


Amherst Stories, essays by Jules Chametzky

Singing Vegetables and Estranged, poems by Terese Svoboda

Immigrant Dreams: Eat Crow, a story by Marilyn Chin

Grackle, a poem by Meg Kearney

Honorary Englishman, a novel excerpt by Sabina Murray

The Dark Ages, a poem by Lauren Hilger

The King's English, a poem by Brian Johnson

from Birthmark, a memoir by Stephen Clingman

Marek (1988), a memoir by Jonathan

Dollimore Duchamp and Zeus, Cyclops, Plato, Gaia . . . ,
poems by Michael Waters

Paintings, by Nina Chanel Abney

Letters from the Spanish Civil War, 1937-38,
by Joan Sales, translated by Peter Bush

Showing What Cannot Be Said: Total War and the
International Project of Modernist War Writing,
part two of an essay by Nil Santiañez

Stories, Scandals, and Censorship: Telling the Story
of the Guantánamo Bay Detainee Library Facilities,
an essay by Muira McCammon

Balconies and How the hands, poems by Farhad Showghi,
translated by Harry Roddy

The Goncourt Brothers: Reflected in the Magic Mirror of Japan,
an essay by Laure Katsaros

Dr. Leopold Takes French, a story by Joann Kobin

Dear Kelly Bloom, a story by Christine Sneed

Visions, a poem by Mikko Harvey

Family Matter, a story by Alex Poppe

Portrait of José Clemente Orozco,
Doris Ulmann, New York City, 1929, a poem by Lisa Beech Hartz

Notes on Contributors


Addressing pop culture and racial conflicts, NINA CHANEL ABNEY paints scenes rooted in autobiography, current events, and traditional storytelling. Driven by a fascination with the perceived importance of celebrity news as compared to politics, she works in a pop-surrealist style, employing cartoonish figures and playful compositions to echo the perpetual stimulation of the digital age. Abney’s paintings have most recently appeared in galleries and shows in New York, Chicago, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, among others.

PETER BUSH has translated many Catalan, Spanish, and Latin American writers, including Carmen Boullosa, Chico Buarque, Juan Carlos Onetti, Najat El Hachmi, Leonardo Padura Ramón del Valle-Inclán, Teresa Solana, Joan Sales, and Mercè Rodoreda. He received the Valle-Inclán Prize for Juan Goytisolo’s The Marx Family Saga and Exiled from Almost Everywhere, the Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Equator, and the Ramon Llull Prize for Josep Pla’s The Gray Notebook. The Spanish government awarded him the Cross of the Order of Civil Merit in 2012 and the Generalitat, the St. George’s Cross in 2015, for his translation and promotion of Spanish and Catalan literature, respectively. He lives in Oxford, where he is completing the translation of Winds of the Night, the sequel to Uncertain Glory.

The last of the original founders of the Massachusetts Review, JULES CHAMETZKY served on the board in various capacities for twenty-seven years. He taught in the UMass English department for thirty-five years, and at multiple European universities as a visiting professor of American Literature and American Studies. He has published over one hundred stories, reviews, and essays in various popular and scholarly journals.

Author of four books of poetry, Dwarf Bamboo; The Phoenix Gone, The Terrace Empty; Rhapsody in Plain Yellow; and Hard Love Province, MARILYN CHIN has also published a novel and contributed to numerous anthologies, including Asian-American Poetry: The Next Generation, and Dissident Song: A Contemporary Asian Anthology. She has translated the Chinese poet Ai Qing and co-translated the Japanese poet Gozo Yoshimasu. Chin’s awards and fellowships include a Stegner Fellowship, the PEN/Josephine Miles Award, four Pushcart Prizes, the Paterson Prize, and a Fulbright Scholarship to Taiwan. She is the Conkling Visiting Poet at Smith College for Spring 2016 and 2017.

STEPHEN CLINGMAN is Distinguished Professor of English and director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His books include The Novels of Nadine Gordimer: History from the Inside and an edited collection of essays by Gordimer, The Essential Gesture: Writing, Politics and Places, translated into a number of languages. Bram Fischer: Afrikaner Revolutionary, a biography of the lawyer and political figure who led Nelson Mandela’s defense at the Rivonia Trial, he has also won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award, South Africa’s premier prize for nonfiction. Clingman’s most recent books are The Grammar of Identity: Transnational Fiction and the Nature of the Boundary, and Birthmark, a memoir.

JONATHAN DOLLIMORE left school at fifteen with no formal education. He worked in a car factory, in farming, and in journalism before going to university as a mature student. His books include (with Alan Sinfield) Political Shakespeare: Essays in Cultural Modernism; Sexual Dissidence; Death, Desire, and Loss in Western Culture; and Sex, Literature, and Censorship.

LISA BEECH HARTZ directs Seven Cities Writers Project, which brings creative writing workshops to underserved communities. She currently guides a workshop in a city jail. Her poems have appeared in Blackbird, Redivider, Mud Season, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. She lives in the Tidewater region of Virginia with her husband and four sons.

MIKKO HARVEY lives in Columbus, Ohio. His poems appear in places such as Colorado Review, Kenyon Review, FIELD, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, and Best New Poets 2013.

LAUREN HILGER’s debut poetry collection, Lady Be Good, is forthcoming from Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016. Awarded the Nadya Aisenberg Fellowship from the Mac-Dowell Colony, where she was a fellow in 2012 and 2014, her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Harvard Review Online, and Kenyon Review Online, among other journals. She serves as a poetry editor for No Tokens.

BRIAN JOHNSON is the author of Torch Lake and Other Poems, a finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award, and Site Visits, a collaborative work with the German painter Burghard Miller-Dannhausen. He is the recipient of two Connecticut Commission on the Arts Fellowships and former editor of Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Letters and Commentary, Connecticut Review, West Branch, Interiors, and other journals.

LAURE KATSAROS is associate professor of French at Amherst College. She is the author of two books, Un nouveau monde amoureux: Célibataires et prostituées au dix-neuvième siècle; and New York–Paris: Whitman, Baudelaire, and the Hybrid City. She is currently at work on a book titled Glass Architecture: Charles Fourier and the Utopia of Collective Self-Surveillance.

MEG KEARNEY is author of two collections of poems for adults, including Home By Now, winner of the 2010 PEN New England LL Winship Award. She is author of a trilogy of verse novels for teens: The Secret of Me, The Girl in the Mirror, and When You Never Said Goodbye, forthcoming from Persea Books. Her picture book, Trouper (the Three-Legged Dog), was published by Scholastic and is illustrated by E. B. Lewis. Her poetry has been featured on Poetry Daily and “The Writer’s Almanac,”and in myriad anthologies. Kearney is founding director of the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program of Pine Manor College.

JOANN KOBIN’s work has appeared in North American Review, Ploughshares, Massachusetts Review, Virginia Quarterly, New Letters, and most recently New England Review and Antioch Review. Women Made of Sound, A Novel in Stories was published by Delphinium Books. Her work has been noted by Best American Short Stories and nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a Massachusetts Arts Council award, and the Boston Review prize. She received a
St. Botolph Club Foundation grant and was a fellow at the MacDowell Colony.

A Beinecke scholar and former Fulbright scholar, MUIRA MCCAMMON researches the overlapping terrain between law, libraries, and wartime archives. Her writings on Guantánamo have appeared in the Kenyon Review Online, Slate, MIT’s Image Series, and elsewhere. She previously worked as a research assistant at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society and was a Summer 2016 fellow at the Harvard Law Library Innovation Lab.

SABINA MURRAY is the author of the novels Forgery, A Carnivore’s Inquiry, and Slow Burn, and two short-story collections, the PEN/Faulkner Award–winning The Caprices and Tales of the New World. Her stories appear in the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and Charlie Chan Is Dead II: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian Fiction. Her work has appeared in the Yale Review, Writers Chronicle, Paris Review Blog, XO Orpheus, and Manila Noir. She teaches in the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at UMass Amherst.

ALEX POPPE is a teacher and creative instigator. A former actor/business consultant, she has worked in Poland, Turkey, Ukraine, northern Iraq, the West Bank, Germany, and the United States. When she is not being thrown from the back of food aid trucks or dining with pistol-packing Kurdish hit men, she writes.

HARRY RODDY is an associate professor of German at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. This is his first publication of poetry translations.

JOAN SALES (1912–83) was a Catalan writer, translator, and publisher. He fought against
the fascists in the Spanish Civil War before going into exile in France, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico, where he worked as a linotypist and edited the magazine Quaderns d’Exili. He returned to Spain in 1948 and began writing his novel, Uncertain Glory, first published in 1956 and then revised and extended by Sales. The definitive version in Catalan came out in 1971. He translated Dostoyevsky and Kazantzakis. As a publisher he brought out Mercè Rodoreda’s In Diamond Square and Villallonga’s Bearn, among other classics of Catalan literature.

NIL SANTIÁÑEZ is a professor of Literature and International Studies at Saint Louis University. His most recent books are Topographies of Fascism: Habitus, Space, and Writing in Twentieth-Century Spain, Goya/Clausewitz: Paradigmas de la guerra absoluta, and Investigaciones literarias: Modernidad, historia de la literatura y modernismos. He has published on Spanish and European literature and culture. He is working with Justin Crumbaugh on a book titled Spanish Fascist Writing, and drafting a monograph on the ethics and poetics of modern war writing.

FAHRAD SHOWGHI is a psychiatrist, poet, and translator who resides in Hamburg, Germany. His End of the City Map (Ende des Stadtplans )(translated by Rosmarie Waldrop) was published by Burning Deck Press.

CHRISTINE SNEED’s stories have appeared in the Massachusetts Review, Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and a number of other publications. She is the author of the novels Paris, He Said and Little Known Facts, and the story collections Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry and The Virginity of Famous Men. She lives in Evanston, IL.

TERESE SVOBODA’s Professor Harriman’s Steam Air-Ship was published in September. When the Next Big War Blows Down the Valley: Selected and New Poems appeared in 2015. Live Sacrifice (stories) will be published in 2017.

MICHAEL WATERS’s books include Celestial Joyride, Gospel Night, Darling Vulgarity (finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize), and Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems (finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize). He co-edited Contemporary American Poetry and Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali. Recipient of fellowships from the NEA, Fulbright Foundation, and NJ State Council on the Arts, Waters teaches at Monmouth University and in the Drew University MFA Program in Poetry & Poetry in Translation.

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